Our life can be divided into four stages and can be compared with a day. This comparison is well explained by four photographs below :
Childhood – it is like sunrise in the morning.
Youth, the mid point of our life, like noon of the day- the brightest part of the day. In our life too, it is the best and important part of our life when many decisions come in this part of life.
Old age is like the Sunset at the end of the day.
Last stage of life : Darkness engulf and the immortal soul is freed and set for heavenly journey.
According to Hindu Religion, there are four stages of life viz. Brahmacharya (student), Grihasta (Householder) Vanaprasta (forest dweller or Hermit in semi retirement) Sannyasi (the renounced one in full retirement) and the Dharma of each is different. The four stages of life may be said to represent periods of Preparation, Production, Service and Retirement.
1. Brahmacharya Ashrama (Student)
This stage begins when a child enters school at an early age and continues until he or she has finished all schooling . The goal is to acquire knowedge, build character and learn to shoulder resonsibilities.
2. Grihasta Ashrama (HouseHolder)
This stage begins at marriage. In this ashrama an individual pays three debts (service of God, serving sages and saints and to ancestors), and enjoys good and noble things in life in accordace with Artha-Kama-Moksha.
3. Vanaprastha Ashrama (Forest Dweller or hermit in semi retirement)
After the responsibilities of Grahastha ashrama are complete (when one’s children have reached adulthood) one enters this ashrama. This is known as ascetic or hermit stage of life. In this stage one gradually withdraws from active life and begins devoting more time to study of scriptures, contemplation and meditation.
4. Sannyasa Ashrama (the renounced one in full retirement)
This ashrama is the final stage of life in which an individual mentally renounces all worldly ties, spends all of his or her time in meditation and contemplation and ponders over the mystries of life. In ancient times one would part company with one’s family and become a mendicant
Photos source : Yahoo group circulation. (Explanation added by me )
11/11/2008 at 9:24 AM
This is really article. What is the purpose of life? Who am I ? these are some beautiful questions which we must keep with us till the end.
11/03/2009 at 4:51 PM
Yes, it makes sense, a reawakening of thoughts and ideas on the true essence of existence, inspiring words for the hearts, and most of all, reflecting time for the long forgotten truth that man’s purpose on earth is unknown….after all, we are here to die…
12/03/2009 at 5:15 PM
Yes we born to die. But as we believe in Hinduism that life has to perform some duties in different stages. 4stages to present : Preparation, Production, Service and Retirement. If we can go through all these stages then only we are successful as human being. Our purpose of coming to this earth is not totally unknown. we should do our duties. and thats what made us here. Its my way of thinking.
13/03/2009 at 5:43 PM
hi….am happy to find this way of exchanging thoughts in any interesting topics. thanks for the enlightening thoughts..
19/03/2009 at 7:36 PM
You may visit ISKCON website http://www.mayapur.com for details about their membership etc by mailing your queries directly to ISKCON. They will contact you. Also you will be informed if any branch is there in Manila or elsewhere in your country. They have branches all over the world.
have a nice time and good luck.
02/04/2016 at 4:38 PM
Dear Anil, you are mentioning ISKCON. I had some contact with these people, and I have read some of the books of Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition. Interesting is that Bhaktivinode Thakur for instance, lived with his family quite to the old age. Just for last few years he went with his wife to a sort of seclusion, which was called ksetra sannyas, which means living with one’s life companion in a holy place. Then only at the final end of life approaching, he separated himself completely from the world and lived in deep meditation.
20/03/2009 at 4:40 PM
thanks for giving this site. I opened it but haven’t gone to ISKCON yet. Thanks again.
28/04/2009 at 11:36 PM
Your intepretation of life through photographs is lovely, however did you notice that however dark, each photo does has some semblence of brightness and even the first photo depicting childhood has a shade of the setting sun… life as we all know is beyond colors and beyond the blacks and the whites too.. had logged in for the pictures but yr creativity is inspiring 🙂
29/04/2009 at 8:35 PM
Thanks again for sharing your lovely and in depth thoughts on life.
In the first picture which is depicting childhood, if I am not wrong, it is sunrise with a clear blue sky, which again resembling with our childhood, begining of our life like begining of a day.
In all the picture the life has been shown as a day at different times, like our life at different ages.
Its my thinking, i may be wrong.
bye, have a nice time